(okay, sorry to continue with the buzzkill here, but as i told a friend who commented on yesterday’s aggro Countrywide post, i’m a world class worrier.)
if you can’t count up to a trillion, then it’s too big to wrap your head around and it might as well be imaginary money.
that seems to be the view of most americans when it comes to how much it costs to wage this war in iraq. our elected officials keep okaying absurd amounts of money for the still inadequate (somehow?) numbers of troops over there, for the private mercenaries like Blackwater and Halliburton who get paid to fight then build up iraq, and for sabre-rattling at iran and others in the axis of evil. (i can’t believe we keep falling for that “axis of evil” crap…didn’t reagan also trot that one out–”evil empire” or whatever?)
anyway, here at home we have plenty to worry about. this New York Magazine article speculates on the worst-case scenario for our economy: a total meltdown as the result of the subprime mortgage fiasco, not to mention the difficulty millions of people will face if they have to re-finance mortgages with escalating adjustable rates.
the dollar’s already in the toilet overseas. here’s a few examples: i’m trying to negotiate license fees for a piece of footage i want to use in my documentary with a place in england and with my eensy little indie budget and the fact that $1USD = .48GBP, i’m looking at retail rates of $8,000USD per minute to get the full complement of rights and territories i want. (you have to pay for the privilege of including other people’s intellectual property in your film.) needless to say, i can’t pay that. a friend who’s a production designer for films said his next project is trying to figure out where they’ll shoot and it won’t be canada, because it’s $1USD = .92CAD. (for those of you like me who have to turn it around for it to make sense, it takes $2.11USD to buy something costing $1GBP; $1.10USD to buy something costing $1CAD. yep, you read that right, the american dollar is worth less than the canadian dollar.)
in myriad ways, all the defenses we use to keep bad news at bay are slowly being pulled away. i never took economics in college so whenever i listen to a news report about the economy it sounds like “mwah mwah hedge fund mwah mwah securitized mortgages mwah mwah mwah, crisis in international banking mwah mwah mwah mwah prime rate.” an international financial crisis–which is what we narrowly avoided in late august/early september–may seem like it’s happening waaaaaaaay over there and couldn’t possibly affect me. but as i push the documentary forward, it’s impossible to avoid realizing how weak the dollar is. i can’t be the only one who’s noticed.
maybe my ignorance of basic macroeconomics compounds my worry; but the more i learn by reading the financial press, the more worried i get.